George Frideric Handel

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George Frideric Handel (February 23, 1685– April 14, 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in a family indifferent to music, Handel received critical training in Halle, Hamburg and Italy before settling in London (1712) as a naturalized British subject in 1727. By then he was strongly influenced by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.

Within fifteen years, Handel had started three commercial opera companies to supply the English nobility with Italian opera. In 1737 he had a physical breakdown, changed direction creatively and addressed the middle class. As Alexander's Feast (1736) was well received, Handel made a transition to English choral works. After his success with Messiah (1742) he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English oratorio on mythical and biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit London's Foundling Hospital (1750) the criticism ended. It has been said that the passion of Handel's oratorios is an ethical one, and that they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died in 1759, a respected and rich man. His funeral was given full state honours, and he was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Baroque era, with works such as Water Music, Music for the Royal Fireworks and Messiah remaining popular. One of his four Coronation Anthems, Zadok the Priest (1727), composed for the coronation of George II of Great Britain, has been performed at every subsequent Coronation of the British monarch traditionally during the sovereign's anointing. Handel composed more than forty operas in over thirty years, and since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrumentation, interest in Handel's operas has grown.

Handel was born in 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, to Georg Händel and Dorothea Taust. His father, 63 when George Frideric was born, was an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. According to Handel's first biographer, John Mainwaring, he "had discovered such a strong propensity to Music, that his father who always intended him for the study of the Civil Law, had reason to be alarmed. He strictly forbade him to meddle with any musical instrument but Handel found means to get a little clavichord privately convey'd to a room at the top of the house. To this room he constantly stole when the family was asleep. At an early age Handel became a skilled performer on the harpsichord and pipe organ".

Handel and his father travelled to Weissenfels to visit either Handel's half-brother, Carl, or nephew, Georg Christian, Friedrich Chrysander states it was not his half-brother but his older nephew, who had to address George Friedrich as his uncle. On this trip, young Handel was lifted onto an organ's stool, where he surprised everyone with his playing. This performance helped Handel and the duke to convince his father to allow him to take lessons in musical composition and keyboard technique from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the organist of Halle's Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen. Zachow composed music for the Lutheran services at the church, and from him Handel learned about harmony and counterpoint, copying and analyzing scores, and gained instruction on the oboe, violin, harpsichord and organ In 1698 Handel played for Frederick I of Prussia and met Giovanni Bononcini in Berlin and most likely met Telemann in Halle.

Song Cycles, Symphonies, Collections etc.

Acis and Galatea, HWV 49a [opera]

  • no. ?. Oh, didst thou know (Text: John Gay)

Agrippina [opera]

  • no. ?. Bel piacere è godere

Alcina, HWV 34 [opera]

  • no. ?. Verdi prati

Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte [collection]

  • no. 1. Kommt und reiht euch leicht geschaart
  • no. 2. Freund, ich folge deiner Bahn
  • no. 3. Wie süss, wenn einsam, eitlen Lob entsagend
  • no. 4. Freud ich folge deiner Bahn
  • no. 5. Lass mich wandern, lass mich ziehen
  • no. 6. Neue Freuden schaut mein Auge
  • no. 7. Birg mich vor des Tags Geräusche
  • no. 8. Will Sorg' und Gram
  • no. 9. Beugt mich einst des Alters Last

Atalanta, HWV 35 [opera]

  • no. ?. Care selve (Text: Belisario Valeriani)

L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato, HWV. 55

  • no. 3. As steals the morn upon the night (Text: Charles Jennens after William Shakespeare)

Muzio Scevola [opera]

  • no. ?. Non ti fidar (Text: Paolo Antonio Rolli)

Neun deutsche Arien (Nine German arias)

  • no. 1. Künftger Zeiten eitler Kummer (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 2. Das zitternde Glanzen der spielenden Wasser (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 3. Süßer Blumen Ambraflocken (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 4. Süße Stille, sanfte Quelle (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 5. Singe, Seele, Gott zum Preise (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 6. Meine Seele hört im Sehen (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 7. Die ihr aus dunklen Grüften (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 8. In den angenehmen Büschen (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • no. 9. Flammende Rose, Zierde der Erden (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
Ottone, re di Germania;;, HWV 15 [opera]
  • no. ?. Affanni del pensier (Text: Nicola Francesco Haym)

Rinaldo [opera]

  • no. ?. Lascia ch'io pianga la cruda sorte (Text: Georg Friedrich Händel)
  • no. ?. Lasst mir die Klage (Text: Ida Marie Luise Sophie Friederike Gustava Hahn-Hahn after Torquato Tasso)

Semele [opera]

  • no. ?. Hymen, haste! thy torch prepare

Serse (Xerxes) [opera]

  • no. ?. Và godendo (Text: Niccolò Minato)
  • no. ?. Ombra mai fu (Text: Niccolò Minato)
  • no. ?. Anima infida

VOCAL WORKS: ALPHABETICAL ORDER (BY TITLE)


A

  • Affanni del pensier, HWV 15 (in Ottone, re di Germania) (Text: Nicola Francesco Haym)
  • Ah! mio cor, HWV 34
  • Anima infida, HWV 40 (in Serse (Xerxes))
  • Arm, Arm Ye Brave (from Judas Maccabeaus)
  • Arresta il passo, HWV. 83 (Text: Pietro Metastasio)
  • Art thou troubled? Music will calm thee
  • As steals the morn upon the night, HWV. 55 no. 3 (in L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato) (Text: Charles Jennens after William Shakespeare)


B

  • Bel piacere è godere (in Agrippina)
  • Beugt mich einst des Alters Last (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • Birg mich vor des Tags Geräusche (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)


C

  • Care selve, HWV 35 (in Atalanta) (Text: Belisario Valeriani)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 1: O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 2: In the Lord put I my trust (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 3: Have mercy upon me, O God (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 4: O sing unto the Lord a new song (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 5: I will magnify thee, O God my King (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 6: As pants the hart for cooling streams (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 7: My song shall be alway of the loving kindness (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 8: O come, let us sing unto the Lord (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no. 9: O praise the Lord with one consent (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no 10: The Lord is my light (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Chandos Anthem no 11: Let God arise (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Ch'io mai vi possa lasciar d'amare (Text: Pietro Metastasio)
  • Come unto him (from Messiah)
  • Cosi alla bella Nicea [misattr.]


D

  • Dalla guerra amorosa, HWV 102a
  • Das zitternde Glanzen der spielenden Wasser, HWV. 203 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • Die ihr aus dunklen Grüften, HWV. 208 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • Dixit dominus, HWV. 232 (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)


F

  • Father of Heaven (from Judas Maccabeaus)
  • Flammende Rose, Zierde der Erden, HWV. 210 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • Freud ich folge deiner Bahn (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • Freund, ich folge deiner Bahn (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)


G

  • Giù nei Tartarei regni v'andrem madonna, HWV. 187


H

  • He Shall Feed His Flock from Messiah
  • Ho fuggito Amore, HWV 118 (Text: Paolo Antonio Rolli)
  • Hymen, haste! thy torch prepare (in Semele)


I

  • Il pianto di Maria: Giunta l'ora fatal, HWV. 234
  • In den angenehmen Büschen, HWV. 209 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)


K

  • Kommt und reiht euch leicht geschaart (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • Künftger Zeiten eitler Kummer, HWV. 202 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)


L

  • Lascia ch'io pianga la cruda sorte (in Rinaldo) (Text: Georg Friedrich Händel)
  • Lass mich wandern, lass mich ziehen (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • Lasst mir die Klage (in Rinaldo) (Text: Ida Marie Luise Sophie Friederike Gustava Hahn-Hahn after Torquato Tasso)
  • Laudate pueri, HWV. 237 (Text: Bible or other Sacred Texts)
  • Let the bright Seraphim (from Samson)
  • Lichtflammend steigt die Sonn' empor


M

  • Meine Seele hört im Sehen, HWV. 207 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)


N

  • Nel dolce dell'oblio, HWV. 134
  • Neue Freuden schaut mein Auge (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • No se enmendará jamás (The Spanish Cantata), HWV 140
  • Non lo diro col Labbro (Text: Nicola Francesco Haym after Carlo Sigismondo Capece)
  • Non ti fidar (in Muzio Scevola) (Text: Paolo Antonio Rolli)


O

  • Oh, didst thou know, HWV 49a (in Acis and Galatea) (Text: John Gay)
  • Oh, had I Jubal's lyre (from Joshua)
  • Ombra mai fu (in Serse (Xerxes)) (Text: Niccolò Minato)


P

  • Partì, l'idolo mio, HWV 147
  • Pastorella vagha bella [misattr.]
  • Pensieri notturni di Filli, HWV. 134


Q

  • Quando in calma ride il mare
  • Quel fior che all'alba ride


R


S

  • Se pari è la tua fé
  • Sì, tra i ceppi
  • Silent Worship
  • Singe, Seele, Gott zum Preise, HWV. 206 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • Solo per voi tra mille [misattr.]
  • Süße Stille, sanfte Quelle, HWV. 205 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)
  • Süßer Blumen Ambraflocken, HWV. 204 (in Neun deutsche Arien) (Text: Barthold Heinrich Brockes)


T


V

  • Và godendo (in Serse (Xerxes)) (Text: Niccolò Minato)
  • Verdi prati, HWV 34 (in Alcina)


W

  • Wie süss, wenn einsam, eitlen Lob entsagend (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)
  • Will Sorg' und Gram (in Arien und Duetten aus L'Allegro, il Pensioroso, ed il Moderato, mit Begleitung des Pianoforte)